Reading – a culture


Reading! Yes reading! I remember, I was at an interview when this officer asked, “hmm! So you like reading. Which novel?” Staggered a little, I was expected to gag out names of a certain number of books. I wasn’t ready because the list I knew was too trivial to mention. Seems, if you do not carry a fleshy book of umpteenth pages, you are not manifested as a reader.

In recent times, I have observed that reading is solely identified with reading a book, a thick one to be precise. It doesn’t really matter, even if the respective reader couldn’t yield a morsel of wisdom from it.

Reading is one thing and putting a scene is another!

Reading is a profound activity in itself and it is a culture inculcated! From reading one’s face to reading a banner of a shop is reading (hardly acknowledged). In that case, we all read. Yet, when it comes to attaining knowledge or wisdom, how do we relate the ‘reading habit’?

Reading encompasses embracing enormous amount of content available everywhere. Any single sentence or a huge paragraph which is positive in thought and insightful is worth reading. I make it a point to read every day. Anything! Almost anything! But if asked, following are few things I usually keep in my habit:

  • Articles: Across web, if you navigate, you will realize there is abundance of content. I habitually read content written by Vir Sanghvi, Kushwant Singh, and an array of burgeoning bloggers. On top of it, I read content such as product descriptions and various corporate communication based articles. They all write substance.
  • Short stories: Nothing is beautiful than reading a beautiful short story. Day is made. I frequently read Ruskin Bond’s stories which almost take me back to my childhood. And, if I deny reading RK Laxman, I am a sinner. I read all.
  • Print: Just the other Sunday, I read a column on Cairo and its food specialties. Such an impressive piece of information it was. Later, I read how to positively take charge of relationships and make peace with them. This is how I just keep reading and reading.
  • Quotes and phrases: I read quotes by Chanakya, Vivekananda, Audrey Hepburn, Betty White and a list of many renowned people who have been through rocks and roses in life.

Thankfully, reading as a habit was inculcated in me right from childhood and later, it was fueled by my school. My mother would buy me books like Champak and Lotpot during vacations and keep me distracted from worldly affairs. She would also buy cursive writing books so that I would hone my hand writing and remain engaged in something constructive. That was beautiful.

Further, at school I read a good number of books like Noddy, Enid Blyton and books with full of pictures. Adolescence involved lying to mother about a certain book and instead, reading Mills & Boons (at home, it wasn’t a good girl’s thing). Later, I read Shakespeare, Prem Chand, Tagore, Harivansh Rai Bacchan (courtesy – syllabus) and Agatha Chritsti in tits and bits.

By the time, I was in college, I was navigated to Femina, Cosmopolitan and bunch of Times of India on a daily basis. Yes, I admit, I read Grihashobha too and grasped a lot of information which was otherwise not possible. I never realized, when did writing bug bit me that during my sixteenth summer, I penned my first poem. I took the hobby to a higher pedestal and today, I am a writer myself. Also, I used to draw and sketch too but the aptitude faded away in oblivion. Though, reading continued in its own stride.

Even today, I do not have a list of books worth mentioning under the section ‘hobby – reading’. I can just mention a few like Daughters of Arabia, Malgudi Days (shorts story collections), Triumphant of Maladies, Sethji, Life is what you make it and few deep glances at Buddhism books. Like any Indian, if I haven’t read anything, I have read the very much admired ‘2 States’. Right now, I have ‘Season of the Rainbirds’ and Manto’s short stories in pipeline.

I know a few friends of mine who are self-confessed avid book readers. They sit for hours engrossed in turning pages and keep the world a distant department. I am not fully sure of the wisdom they nurture but I respect their practice.

If you are a literate, you are gifted. Reading is a beautiful virtue. Our parents send us to school – we learnt reading letters, pronounce them and weave them beautifully in a sentence. Yes, there is a significant difference in ‘cannot read’ and ‘doesn’t read’.  In my opinion, the latter is a deprived one. He who can read and write doesn’t make an effort to read good things is definitely miles away from learning. Though, many who read also fail to bring in the acumen. Reading makes you wise! I have observed lack of wisdom and values in them despite a pile of books was stated as ‘reading’. It is beautiful to read and you are lucky to have been blessed with education. Remember, there is someone in the crowd who is not able to decipher the bus number and name!

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2 thoughts on “Reading – a culture

  1. And to gain some worthy insight I read your columns. You read and understand and then you pen your understanding down in this blog which I read. So like the food chain I am engaged in this reading chain where I am quite a few pedestals below yours but that is kind of good as that allows me to absorb your thoughts. Great work sis. Carry on.

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